Charter Frequently Asked Questions
Find the information you need about your BVI yacht charter trip
I frequently see the same questions asked about BVI yacht charters.
So, I’ve collected them up with all the answers you need.
Short and to the point. All the details you need, no fluff.
Let’s get into it.
BVI Trip Planning FAQ
Less is more and pack collapsible suitcases. Check out my sailing trip packing list post for all the details.
We usually end up at Cane Garden Bay in the middle of our trip. Bobby’s Supermarket is our spot to re-provision. Grab another couple avocados for that ceviche you are going to make and pick up another carton of eggs.
Other places that are convenient:
- North Sound: Leverick Bay and the Bitter End Yacht Club have small stores where you can pick up essential items
- Scrub Island also has a provisioning store
- If you visit Soper’s Hole, there is a well-stocked Riteway that should have everything you need
Most people get to the BVIs in one of two ways.
- Fly to Puerto Rico or St. Thomas and grab a “puddle jumper” flight to the Beef Island airport (EIS). BEWARE: a lot of these flights have been cancelled or delayed recently due to staffing issues with the smaller airline operators that manage these routes. This is not a reliable option right now.
- Fly to St. Thomas and catch the ferry to Roadtown. You can also book a private water taxi – this will run you about $1,500-$2,000, but it might be worth it for the convenience. You may need 2 taxis depending on your group size. Crews like this option since it is more convenient, faster, and the taxi will also take care of clearing you in to BVI customs (usually at Soper’s Hole).
I think the best time to visit the British Virgin Islands is May-June or November.
- The weather is more settled (10-15 knots of consistent trade winds)
- It is less hot
- There is less risk of a disruption due to a tropical storm
- It tends to be less crowded
Most likely, yes. You’ll need to confirm with your charter company.
I actually think catamaran’s are much easier to maneuver and handle as compared to a monohull. Read more about why I think the catamaran is the better option for your sailing trip here.
Recently because of covid, many charter companies are only providing fins, but not the masks/snorkel.
Covid aside, you should purchase a quality mask/snorkel combo and take it with you on every trip. You will have a much better snorkeling experience. Don’t rely on the low-quality gear that you might be able to rent.
I’ve had my snorkel/mask since I got scuba certified in 2009 and it is still in great shape. Make the investment!
It all depends on what your crew likes to do – beach bar hopping, restaurants, mooring vs anchoring, seclusion, snorkeling, etc.
For a week-long trip, I recommend this itinerary for crews that want to hit all of the BVI hot spots. This one is also good for first time visitors.
- Cooper Island
- Baths and then North Sound
- Cane Garden Bay
- Sandy Spit and Diamond Cay
- White Bay Jost Van Dyke beach bars
- Norman Island
It is customary to tip 20-25% of the cost of the charter.
Make sure it is not just reef-friendly. You want reef-safe. We like Reef Repair, SPF 50.
Right now, the answer is most likely no. But, please confirm that with the charter company you are working with.
The BVI government put a lot of restrictions in place recently that makes it nearly impossible for USVI charter boats to travel to the BVIs.
It’s a moving target, as you might expect. I keep up with the latest at this forum thread.
It’s a reservation system to book mooring balls at some of the popular bays and anchorages. I break it down in more detail here.
No, you don’t need to use it. But, in peak season, the mooring balls at the most popular spots (Cooper Island and Great Harbour in particular) will fill up fast – sometimes before noon! Most crews would prefer to spend the day enjoying themselves rather than racing to their next destination. In that case, it might make sense for you to try and use their system. Good luck!
We spend a lot of time on the hook. Yes, we enjoy the beach bars and some restaurants, but we like seclusion better.
My favorite places to anchor are Eustatia Sound (if not redlined), Muskmelon Bay (day stop), and Key Bay at Peter Island. I also used to recommend Benures Bay at Norman Island, but there are mooring balls there. It is still a good option if you want fewer crowds.
These are my favorites:
- The Caves, Norman Island
- The Indians
- Cistern Point, Cooper Island
- The Chimney at Great Dog
- HMS Rhone (yes you can see it if the water is not too murky)
- Eustatia Sound
- Loblolly Bay and Flash of Beauty in Anegada
- Muskmelon Bay, Guana Island
Make sure you pick up a copy of the Guide to Snorkeling and Diving in the British Virgin Islands.
BVI Fishing FAQ
Yes! Everyone over 18 years old that plans to fish needs a license. Visit the link above – it has all the details on how to get one.
That depends. You vessel needs to be registered for fishing. Confirm this in advance with your charter company.
Anywhere it is legal!! We always run a line when moving the boat. You never know what you might catch.
Ok, but where are the best areas?
I like to fish the south drop when we are near Norman or Peter Island. I’ve hooked mahi down there.
On your way to and from Anegada is also a good bet. Try trolling over the wreck of the Chikuzen.
Don’t expect to catch much in the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
Offshore on the drops (north or south) you can catch mahi, tuna, and wahoo. The north drop is known to get lots of marlin bites, but we rarely target them and don’t too often visit the north drop.
On the shelf areas, you can also catch mahi as well as mackerel and barracuda.
If you do some bottom dropping at a place like Kingfish Banks, you’ll have good chances to catch snapper and perhaps a grouper.
Check out the link above for more details.
Troll back and forth from 200-600 feet. Another way to do it: go from 200 feet until your depth sounder zeros out, and then head back. Rinse and repeat until the reel alarm goes off!
Yes! Most, if not all charter companies now let you sail to Anegada. The approach is straightforward and the channel is well-marked.
You can even do it if you’re a beginner or if it’s your first time visiting the British Virgin Islands. Check this post out for more info about how to make the trip.
More is better, but two makes sense for most on a charter trip. Arrive mid-morning from North Sound on your first day. Explore the North Shore beaches. On your second day, do a reef excursion.
Flash of Beauty and nearby Loblolly. Cow Wreck Beach is better for lagoon swimming.
Rent a couple mokes or a truck with seating in the back for the crew. Don’t rent scooters unless you would like to end your trip early. I don’t like taxis because they don’t give you the flexibility you need to explore.
Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. If I had to pick, it would be Wonky Dog.